INDIANAPOLIS - Tamika Catchings is recognized as a community leader who is making history.
Catchings has had a successful year that may be hard to replicate.
The Indiana Fever won a long-awaited WNBA championship and Catchings was named the Finals MVP.
She won a gold medal in the London Olympics, which was her third, after triumphs in the 2008 Beijing games and the 2004 Athens games.
When Catchings started, she looked up to mentors like Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley.
After a league MVP award and a record four Defensive Player of the Year awards, she is now the mentor.
“Its emotional and more so because every single time was at different phases of my career,” Catchings said.
Her work off the court remains equally impressive.
Her “Catch the Stars” foundation promotes literacy, fitness and mentoring for young people of central Indiana.
Her father, Harvey Catchings, the former NBA player, is a man who continues to lead by example.
“I have had great examples growing up. My father played in the NBA, so every community event that he had where family could go, we were a part of,” Catchings said.
She will return to Indianapolis, fresh-off from a 3-month run overseas playing in the Chinese Professional League.
Catchings also serves as the Players’ Association president.
The hard work will continue as her 2013 calendar begins with training camps that start in April.
The home opener and banner-raising ceremony will take place May 31.
“For me, I know we are trailblazers, and even though the league has been around 16 years, I still look at it as we are still growing, and we still have a lot of things we have to do to be successful and stick around,” Catchings said.
Follow Dave Furst on Twitter: @davefurst